NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) -- No Carmelo Anthony? No problem, says Nets coach Avery Johnson.
"Sometimes the best trades are the ones you don't make," Johnson told the Star-Ledger during Wednesday's Nets practice.
The Nets wanted Anthony and believed they would get him, hoping the Brooklyn native would be the face of their franchise when they open their new Barclays Center in that borough in 2012.
"That prospective trade that was reported where we were going to supposedly lose basically eight players, man that would have really gutted our team," he added. "So we're glad that that didn't happen."
The Knicks have lost three straight since beating the Grizzlies last week, allowing an average of 117.3 points during the skid.
"It's not even so much what somebody else is going through," Johnson said about the Knicks. "I just think it's tough to start over, in a sense, because that's what you're doing in a lot of ways."
The Knicks are in a tight race with Philadelphia for the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference, although a playoff spot appears secure.
"When you get superstar players back people don't want to hear excuses, but you are kind of starting over," said Johnson. "But when you give up so much to get a star player or two — which would have been in our case had we made that trade — you really still have to hit the ground running. There's still no real transition period."
Instead, the Nets landed Deron Williams from the Utah Jazz. Williams is scheduled to make $17.7 million in 2012-13, but he can walk away from that deal after next season. Johnson doesn't think that will happen.
"I have no doubt and I'm really, really confident that we'll be able to re-sign him," the coach said. "And guess what? Down the road if that changes I'm not going to be the first person in America or professional sports that have had no doubt and it didn't work."
Whose team is in better long-term shape: Carmelo's Knicks or Deron's Nets? Sound off in the comments below...
(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
for more features.